By Scott Nicholson
[Editor’s Note: this is a guest post as part of Scott Nicholson’s blog tour. Enjoy!]
“Whatever happened to you, man?”
That innocent question came from my friend Mark Justice, early in our podcast interview last year for Pod of Horror. I was silent for a moment, considering the implications of the question. To many outside observers, particularly those who primarily knew me from my six supernatural thrillers that came out in mass-market paperback, it looked like I had disappeared. I haven’t listened to Mark’s recording yet, but I was probably a little uneasy and defensive, as if I had somehow failed at something.
Of course, if you measure me as a “horror writer,” because of what was stamped on the sides of the books, then maybe I had disappeared and failed. There are plenty of reasons, both internal and external, but the truth is, even during that era that I now consider Act I of my career, I was writing in many different formats and genres. Those paperbacks were just the most visible artifacts of the era.
Even the “horror” thing seems a little odd to me. In the last few years, I have become less interested in the more unsavory elements of the genre, particularly the violence commonly associated with the graphic movies that come out under the banner. I see the genre as broad enough to hold both supernatural suspense and brutality, and I’d never stop anyone from getting the reading material they want, as long as it doesn’t directly harm someone. But I want more than a cheap thrill.
So what happened to me? Well, life changes, career changes, passion changes.
I’ve been working on comic books, screenplays, and children’s books, as well as some mystery, fantasy, and humor. Some of it is scary and has paranormal elements. Some of it is so unlike what people think of as a “Scott Nicholson book” that they probably won’t believe I wrote it. Which is exactly how I like it. Something like As I Die Lying is billed as The Worst Novel Ever Written. New York turned it down 117 times, just like in the book. And now it is out. “No” didn’t work. The book happened.
The era has changed so much that getting published in mass-market paperback is nearly the worst possible way to reach readers, and certainly one of the most time-consuming, clumsy, and least rewarding. And readers are now paying $8 or $9 for the privilege, which seems unfair for a disposable pulp product that was designed to be carried in a purse or back pocket.
So the new era means I can publish everything, and I can do whatever I want without worrying about branding or platform or market or genre label or store category or all the other publishing considerations of Act I. All I have to worry about now is you.
If I give you what you want, you can give me a few bucks. Not much in between us.
What happened to me? Forever Never Ends, a revision of my 2003 paperback The Harvest, is now in the author’s preferred edition. Speed Dating with the Dead. Drummer Boy, a coming-of-age story about the misfit kid in all of us that just happens to use supernatural elements.
These days, I just want to leave something lasting for my kids, important messages and lessons that will help them deal with the world. Sure, the world is scary. But it’s also a world where you follow your dreams, and you move on from people who hinder or darken the dreams.
More than three years after my last mass-market release, I have more books out than ever before, all available around the world at any time. I’m working on multiple translations to get stories to more people. Three years after I looked dead, I am shambling back like a zombie with a typewriter, cooking up a witch’s brew of strange fiction that has me giggling, disturbed, and satisfied, yet eternally hungry for more all at the same time.
What happened to me?
Read me and see.
Scott Nicholson is author of The Red Church, The Skull Ring, and 10 other novels, five story collections, four comics series, and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he often uses local legends in his work. This tour is sponsored by Amazon, Kindle Nation Daily, and Dellaster Design.
To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. Nicholson is also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free ebooks to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy his books and put him in the Top 100 and he’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for playing. Complete details at: Nicholson Blog Tour